Six Steps to a Successful Career Change

Updated: Nov 8, 2021

There is a saying in the world of business that entrepreneurs should “never waste a good crisis”. The most successful companies are those that embrace uncertainty and disruption and pivot their business to stay afloat.

If you are, working in an industry that is struggling and is contemplating future furloughs or downsizing then it is time to consider a career change.

Case in point in the hospitality and retail industry. The hospitality sector is facing insurmountable job losses. Workers are in a predicament where they either wait it out or consider a career change. The third lockdown in the UK has also put a strain on retailers. Physical stores are closing, accelerating the ongoing shift from brick-and-mortar to online retailing. Increasing the need to fulfill head office and e-commerce roles. Arcadia’s brands once dominated the high street, however, its chain of stores have been hit hard by store closures caused by COVID-19, and the strength of online retailers.

We are all operating in a modern world that demands us to leverage our skills differently.

Your goal is to transition to a career that will thrive under the new economic environment. Consider the market place, research innovative industries and requirements.

1. What are Transferable Skills?

A transferable skill is something that is portable. They are skills that you build up in a previous role(s). Rather than looking at the technical skills and knowledge needed for a role, think about generic skills like communication, planning and organisation, decision-making, problem-solving, conflict resolution and more. These transferable skills are useful in other roles – think about how employers could use these skills – you can pick up the specialist technical skills and knowledge once in the job.

The below skills are desired by almost every employer and as a career changer, it is your responsibility to infuse and demonstrate your skill on your CV and in person.

· analysis and decision-making

· Commercial awareness

· Creativity

· Customer focus

· Influence and communication

· Leadership and team working

· Planning and organising

· Self-management

· Internal and external communication

So for example, it might be, say, a communication skill. It may be something around business acumen. Maybe you are a great team worker. Maybe you are brilliant at relationship building. There are a host of examples out there.

2. How to Spot your transferable skills

Irrespective of where you are starting from, your first task is to take stock and identify what it is you have to offer prospective employers.

This exploration is widely recognised as the most crucial phase in the career-changing process: the springboard to finding a more satisfying career.

Your self-marketing activities will be more effective if you know what transferable skills to sell and you present it interestingly.

3. Go back over your career

Start thinking about all the roles that you have held in the past. Do not just limit your thinking to your professional life, what skills have you in your personal life.

Dig them out. They may be roles perhaps in a voluntary capacity. They may be roles that you have within the family. Take the time to consider the variety and the richness of your skill base.

As a parent returning to work, think about how you can package your multitasking and flexibility skills to provide value to changing workplace.

I always ask my clients to list all their accomplishments in their career, personal and voluntary life. Including anything, they are personally proud of, not just job titles and awards.

You can also do this at home; identify your top three accomplishments. Write in detail what specific impact/outcome you created for your employer/team/department/client. Allow yourself to feel and relive the impact you had. Then ask yourself what skills you utilised to derive results and how you plan to use these skills in the future.

4. People who get interviews already know the job well

Whatever career change you make it is vital to study the industry in detail. Allocate time to research relevant news, external competition, jargon, skills needed, values, and attitudes/culture. There is general information available online, but it would be better to talk to those with first-hand experience. Start connecting with professionals on LinkedIn, be genuine, and open about your desire to learn from them. The greater the fluency of your knowledge the more convincing you will sound like a potential employee.

5. Good applications and CV’s should look to the future

Your CV needs to describe your projected future, not dwell on your past, no matter how successful you have been. It must emphasise your transferable skills and experience that are relevant to your prospective industry. Previous achievements should relate specifically to the job you are applying for, tailoring your responsibilities to highlight your perceived value.

The CV you write for your change of career needs to convince your potential employer that they should give you the chance to succeed in a new field: your desire to change career must seem like the next logical step.

As well as applying all the points above to your career change plan, you must believe you can achieve the change. Start visualising yourself in your new role every day.

6. Have a Strategy and aim to win

I see it every day. Talented people losing their jobs or on the verge of being made redundant. Tensions are incredibly high right now. As a job seeker, it is important to weigh up the pros and cons of your current industry. Trying to revive your career in an industry that COVID 19 obliterate may be futile. Of course, it is easier to dedicate your time and energy to what you know. Testing old terrain and seeing if something bites. However, what happens when supply does not equal demand. When nobody has the resources or market capability to assign you. When you are not even making THE recruiters HIT list. Your skills are valid, but the industry you are fishing in could be on the verge of disruption or extinction.

There has never been a more favourable climate for career changers.

As a Jobseeker, you can adopt a "what if" mindset, about your career. There will be professionals that worry about what might happen; there are others, however, who will channel that negative energy into what they can do about their situation by pivoting.

Seeing how businesses repositioned should give you hope and confidence. Every thriving company will need a plethora of well-honed skills to stay competitive. So as a job seeker, you have two choices, push for what you know or pivot into a brand new career.

Finally yet importantly, believe you can and you will.

Anticipate disruption- assess the market- and be ready to embrace change.

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